Minister for Railways Mukul Roy is slowly perfecting the art of being an absentee minister much like his predecessor and leader Mamata Banerjee. He is bunking Rail Bhavan and keeping himself confined to West Bengal,it is learnt,on the instructions of his Trinamool boss.
Ever since Roy took over as minister on March 19,out of 36 working days,he has attended office for only 11 days,according to sources,This includes the Parliament sessions where he had to be present during discussions on his ministry.
Roy replaced Dinesh Trivedi who fell out with Mamata for increasing fares in the railway budget presented by him in February-end.
While in the case of Mamata,emergency files were flown from Rail Bhavan by railway officials to her house at Kalighat for clearance,in the case of Roy they are brought to his office at Nizam Palace.
In fact,Railway Board officials,after the swearing-in of Roy,are learnt to have exchanged notes among themselves that they would have to be content with an absentee minister.
After his swearing-in when Roy came to Kolkata,Mamata reportedly told him to stay in Kolkata as much as possible and oversee things at Rail Bhavan from here.
Roy,general secretary of the Trinamool Congress,has now become second-in-command in the party something that was made clear by Mamata on different occasions. While Roy has been attending all the public functions presided over by the Chief Minister,he has also been busy attending party matters,settling disputes,giving instructions to party units on behalf of the leader. His presence has also become more important in the state because of the panchayat elections to be held next year.
Roy is unperturbed by his absence from the Railway Bhavan. Statistics will show how many days I have come to Rail Bhavan. In any case I dont have to come to office every day, Roy,who skipped the very first meeting of the Cabinet after he took over as minister,told The Indian Express.
The CPM has fired a salvo on the minister. The railways is going to dogs. How can you control things sitting in Kolkata. This dangerous trend started by Mamata should be done away with, Basudev Acharya,CPM MP told The Indian Express.